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Francois Zaninotto's Blog:
Introducing Code Usability
May 05, 2009 @ 13:48:19

Francois Zaninotto has a recent post looking at something every developer should consider when creating their applications - especially the libraries that might be used by other developers: code usability.

Usability guidelines can sometimes be of use in awkward places. I try to apply them to source code. [...] Of course, coding guidelines are there to make the code easy to read by everyone. But code usability goes somehow beyond. Let's see some of the differences.

He compares good versus bad code in a few different areas:

  • Bad Code Comments
  • Split Up Code
  • Cleanliness
  • New Conventions
  • Listen To User Feedback

Each item is described, some including code examples to help make them more clear. Be sure to check out the comments for more good suggestions.

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usability comments split clean convention user feedback


Justin Carmony's Blog:
Software Development With Clients In Mind
February 02, 2009 @ 15:17:45

Justin Carmony has written up a new article about something every developer (and/or development business) struggles with when hacking away at their code - keeping what the clients want in mind.

Why does it seem so hard to deliver quality products to clients? Sometimes it feels like clients either don't appreciate quality, or they have their priorities all mixed up. [...] These seems rather obvious, but in-fact many developers get caught up in quality and then are totally surprised when their clients aren't happy. Why? Because as developers we notice and respect quality a great deal more than suitability.

Part of the problem is that clients don't care about the quality behind the scenes. Most of the time, they just want to see results and don't really care how it was done. He focuses on one thing that can really help you in dealing with these clients - keeping up with that their needs are, not just assuming. This includes a few more specific tips:

  • Meet the Client
  • See the Need
  • Open Communication
  • Frequent Client Feedback
  • Usability Testing
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software development client focus quality usability


Zend Developer Zone:
AJAX Chat Tutorial Part 7 Usability Improvements
January 15, 2007 @ 11:38:00

The Zend Developer Zone has posted part seven of their series covering the development of an Ajax chat application. This time,. they're focusing on some of the final touches - usability improvements.

To start we need to make the chat messages automatically refresh at fixed intervals without requiring user input. We will also add a small message to let the user know when a background request is active. To finish up we remove the necessity of using the "Say It!" button to submit new chat messages.

They show how to make the chat window refresh at an interval (rather than manually), how to have the application tell the user it's doing something (like "loading"), and adding a keypress event to handle the user pressing the enter key to send off their message.

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ajax chat application tutorial usability improvement refresh feedback keypress ajax chat application tutorial usability improvement refresh feedback keypress


Cclair.nl:
ModernCaptcha - when captcha meets usability
December 29, 2006 @ 11:06:00

From Cclair.nl, there's a new post sharing some code that's been created in an effort to make a "more modern CAPTCHA".

"ModernCaptcha" is a simple script in order to prevent spam in a very user friendly way. In a few words, your visitors don't have to type some characters as you see on the most websites, the verification is made by choosing the company name belonging to the logo that is show.

It's an interesting approach, but, as one reader pointed out, bots has a one in five chance of guessing correctly. That's way less than with a more standard image manipulation CAPTCHA method. I'm not sure I'd want to use it on my sites, but it might be good for a smaller site.

There's a demo of the end result and a download of the latest version as well as some limited support provided in the comments of the post.

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moderncaptcha captcha usability logo select radio moderncaptcha captcha usability logo select radio


The Shadow Fox Network:
Building a Better Blog - Part 1 & 2
December 04, 2006 @ 21:22:11

On the Shadow Fox Network today, they've posted parts one and two of their look at building a better blogging system.

In part one, they talk about things where all good projects should start - with the planning and what it will take to get the project done. This includes the structure of the application, the usability, and the extensions you'll want to use.

Part two goes a step further into the planning stage by looking specifically at the design and usability of the application. They start with the base HTML and add some styling and images to make it easier to use.

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design plan better blog tutorial part1 part2 usability design plan better blog tutorial part1 part2 usability


ThinkPHP Blog:
Improving Usability on "My Chorizo" page the host signature file
July 31, 2006 @ 05:59:21

The guys over at the ThinkPHP blog are already improving their Chorizo security scanner software with refreshed usability for their "My Chorizo" page inside the utility.

In the spirit of Web2.0 applications, we constantly improve Chorizo! and silently update the application with the newest features. In order to scan a host, you have to prove that you are the owner of the host by uploading a unique signature file to your host's document root. Some of our users had trouble uploading it into the docroot, some accidently put it into the wrong directory.

Their enhancement makes it easy to tell which of the products have their signature files in place and while don't at a glance.

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chorizo web scanner usability update signature chorizo web scanner usability update signature



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